Mainstream media is starting to pitch up the pace reporting about the DTV transition. USA Today is a recent example. Mike Snider, a reporter in the Tech section, has made both a Q&A and an article about the DTV transition. But he really gets a few things on the wrong foot. As readers of the web edition has made comments on. It will be common among reporters to not get facts and things right about the transition, it is complex but really not rocket science.
The focus of the article is on the downside of the transition. This is really the “safe side” reporting. It is easier to be critical then “fair and balanced”. However, this article is really confusing. It is unclear what downside Mr. Snider is referring to in the headline. Is it that DTV has been focused on HDTV? (It is really two different sides of the same coin). Is it that analog broadcast will be shut of? (They will, but it sounds like they will disappear – they won’t. Broadcast continues as usual but in digital only.) Is the downside that lawmakers are worried? (They are, but is that really bad? They should track this issue and the TV industry is really behind the schedule).
Mr. Snider writes: “An old TV should be connected to satellite, Cable or an add-on digital tuner”. Why not use the word converter box? Let’s help the audience by using the most common definition. And, there are more options. How bout using a TivoHD? It works great with an antenna. Also there are DVD recorders with built in DTV tuners. More is that there should be a greater selection of converter boxes on the shelves. In Europe there are more than 100 different models on the market in countries like the U.K, Germany and Sweden. Will the U.S get there?
It is great that USA Today writes about the transition. But I think that NAB, FCC, NTIA and other stakeholders should bring more basic knowledge to reporters to grab before they write. It’s really for the consumer’s best. Media will be the strongest force when it comes to bring awareness to consumers. It is really a steep learning curve for most reporters. But the DTV transition shouldn’t be presented as rocket science – it’s not.
NABs newsletter links to the article discussed above but headlines it a bit different: Plenty of work remains before DTV deadline
Interestingly enough Mr. Sniders Q&A is more to the point. Headlined “Is your television ready for the DTV transition?“. A more practical guide for consumers. NABs newsletter don’t link to this article though.
Nobody will miss analog TV. DTV broadcast bring much better picture quality, more channels, new services and possibilities to develop the TV as a medium.
One problem is that very few have experienced DTV, in the U.S, with an antenna and a converter box. It is easier to focus on the downsides only then, but there is really more to report about than the fuzz, confusion and low awareness. But I guess the uncertainty that lack of information brings, makes the day for the downsides of the transition.